Six Flags New Orleans – Hurricane Katrina’s Abandoned Theme Park

Six Flags New Orleans was a theme park which originally opened as Jazzland in 2000 and was located just off Interstate 510 in Louisiana. In 2002, the Six Flags Group took over the park and operated it until August 2005 when they closed it as a result of the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Katrina which flooded the park in 4-7 foot of water. The flood water wasn’t drained for a month and believing the cost of refurbishment to be too much, the park was closed indefinitely and left abandoned. Six Flags tried to terminate their 75 year lease on the property as a result of the closure and the city of New Orleans eventually agreed in 2009. It has remained abandoned since.

The park’s original name of Jazzland lasted from 2000 until 2002 and in that time it was owned by Alfa Smartparks who had more experience with water parks and smaller amusement arcades. There were a number of rollercoasters operating from day one including the wooden Mega Zeph, some flat rides, a log flume as well as many traditional fairground rides. The theme park was unprofitable and the lease was sold on to Six Flags in early 2002.

The park became Six Flags New Orleans in 2003 and the company brought in the new Batman rollercoaster, the Jester rollercoaster and other smaller rides as part of an extensive upgrading of facilities. Areas in the park had themes based around the state of Louisiana and were given the names Main Street Square, Goodtime Gardens, Cajun Country, Pontchartrain Beach and Mardi Gras. DC Comics Super Hero Adventures and Looney Toon Adventures were also added under licence agreements with Warner Bros held by Six Flags.

Visitor numbers improved under the Six Flags ownership and the new rides and licensed properties attracted visitors from Louisiana and beyond. Within 3 years however, the theme park was left devastated along with much of New Orleans in one of the worst Hurricanes ever to hit the United States.

Six Flags New Orleans submerged by flood water following Hurricane Katrina
Six Flags New Orleans submerged by flood water following Hurricane Katrina

As a result of corrosive damage from the saltwater which flooded the theme park following Hurricane Katrina, most of the rides were declared a total loss. Batman:The Ride survived and was moved to San Antonio in 2008 where it became known as Goliath. Road Runner Express is now located at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California, Bayou Blaster and Sonic Slam were installed as Sasquatch in Great Escape in New York State.

Many of the remaining attractions were left in situ leaving an eerie memory reminiscent of many post apocalyptic zombie movies, the theme park becoming a ghost town and falling prey to nature and the inclement New Orleans weather.  The property is decaying at an astonishing rate and has become a mecca for urban explorers from across the United States. The former theme park is now under the care of the City Of New Orleans who have been looking at ways to redevelop the site since the Six Flags lease reverted to them in 2009. A local company is in talks to reopen the theme park as New Jazzland and has released some details on possible themes similar to those which opened in the original Jazzland in 2000.

The site has been used most recently as a film set for movies including Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, Dawn of The Planet of The Apes and most notably, Jurassic World.

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Category: Theme Park

Abandoned: 2005

Ruins of the Ozarka Splash in Six Flags New Orleans
Ruins of the Ozarka Splash – pic: Jon Von Curd/Flickr
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Ride in Six Flags New Orleans
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Ride – pic: Jon Von Curd/Flickr

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